Barack Obama is the most liberal/left-wing president ever. And yet the whining of the liberal left is growing to a shrill screech.
Some of them actually say Democrats lost the 2010 elections because Obama wasn’t left-wing enough (giving up the public option on health care, for example). When in fact they lost because a majority of voters deemed Obama too left-wing. The left can’t seem to accept that they’re a minority. They cling to the fantasy that if only people voted rationally, they’d win. In fact, mainstream voters understand well enough what the left is selling. And they aren’t buying.
This pattern is repeated in the left’s ire over the recent tax deal. They feel Obama should have insisted on raising taxes on higher incomes. They ignore the inconvenient truth that clear majorities in Congress wouldn’t vote for this.
In that tax deal, Obama actually won more of the left’s agenda (extending unemployment benefits, tax breaks for working people, and in effect another stimulus) than might have been expected. Yet still the left whines and carps.
That the two parties could come together on that compromise deal is perhaps somewhat encouraging. However, this was really a case of Republicans agreeing to raid the Treasury to give Democrats goodies they covet in exchange for Dems agreeing to pillage the Treasury for things Republicans want.
Too bad the Treasury wasn’t in on the negotiations. The deal violates the first rule of holes: if you’re in one, stop digging. Given the deepening fiscal hole America is in, what we really need is for Republicans to agree to sacrifice some of what they cherish in return for Democrats agreeing to their own sacrifices. That was the essence of the recent Simpson-Bowles Commission proposals, for getting control of our spiraling national debt. Shamefully, Obama won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. So it’s no surprise that few other politicians would either.
But those politicians can’t be faulted. The blame lies with voters. Polls show solid majorities favoring deficit reduction, but those majorities evaporate when any specific cuts are at issue (except maybe foreign aid, which voters on average estimate at 24% of the budget; in fact it’s under 1%). To prevent economic disaster, we’ll have to take big whacks out of Medicare, farm subsidies, military bloat, and yes, horrors, Social Security. No more welfare for the rich.
I’m not holding my breath.